DT 29974 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29974

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29974

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from chilly, grey South Staffs.

A pretty standard Friday crossword for me, taking just into *** time.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Expressing sympathy with wife taking out small dog (5)
WORRY – Start with a word expressing sympathy or apology, then replace the abbreviation for Small with the abbreviation for Wife.

4a           Student is man primarily behind museum defacement (9)
VANDALISM – The short form of the name of a London museum (1,3,1), followed by the usual letter indicating a student or learner, IS (from the clue), and the first letter (primarily) of Man.

9a           Examples of current attitudes (9)
INSTANCES – A two-letter word for ‘current’ or ‘trendy’, followed by another word for ‘attitudes’.

10a         Quick run followed by a bath when back (5)
RAPID – The cricket abbreviation for Run, followed by A (from the clue) and the reverse (when back) of a word for ‘bath’ or ‘swim’.

11a         City entertained by actor on tour (7)
TORONTO – Hidden in the clue.

12a         Article about music performance (7)
RECITAL – Anagram (about) of ARTICLE.

13a         Intimate description of naturists perhaps, nothing originally omitted (6)
ALLUDE – The definition here is a verb. Start with a phrase (3,4) which could describe a group of naturists, then remove the first letter of Nothing.

15a         Hobby that might lead to numerous rows? (8)
KNITTING – Cryptic definition of a craft activity involving yarn and needles.

How to Knit: Step-by-Step Beginners Guide & Video | LoveCrafts

18a         Discovered woman’s bred unusual dog (8)
DOBERMAN – Anagram (unusual) of (w)OMAN’(s) BRED, where ‘woman’s’ is dis-covered.

Doberman Pinscher Dog Breed Information

20a         Hit for one making record (6)
SINGLE – Double definition, the first being a scoring shot at cricket or a base hit in baseball.

23a         Comparatively rare extract from Oscar ceremony (7)
SCARCER – Hidden in the clue.

24a         Consider to turn back (7)
REFLECT – Double definition, the second being ‘turn back’ as an image in a mirror is.

26a         Like swimmer being apart from others (5)
ASIDE – Divide the answer (2,3) and you have a word for ‘like’ and a word for a fish found most often in crosswords.

27a         Every second adult bird departed, circling round (9)
ALTERNATE – Put together an abbreviation for Adult, and a word for ‘departed (this life)’ wrapped round a seabird

28a         Mother’s welcoming American publicity for traditional British food (5,4)
MUSHY PEAS – Put together one of the usual abbreviations for ‘American’ and some overblown publicity, then wrap a short word for ‘mother’s’ around the result.

Traditional British Mushy Peas - made with marrowfat peas - Foodle Club

29a         Vows of loyalty he’s regularly disregarded (5)
OATHS – Alternate letters (regularly disregarded) of lOyAlTy He’S.


1d           It was extravagant also to purchase black belt (9)
WAISTBAND – Anagram (extravagant) of IT WAS, and another word for ‘also’ gripping (purchase) the abbreviation for Black between them.

2d           One getting up right after unconfined craving returns (5)
RISER – Remove the outside letters (unconfined) from a word for ‘craving’ or ‘wish’, reverse (returns) the result, then add Right.

3d           Longed having base for trophy made (7)
YEARNED – The final letter (base) of trophY, followed by ‘made’, as in ‘she made £50k last year’.

4d           Covert manoeuvres to find carrier of disease (6)
VECTOR – Anagram (manoeuvres) of COVERT.

5d           Reportedly sees gang as symbol of teenage rebellion? (4-4)
NOSE-RING – A word that sounds like (reportedly) a word for ‘sees’ or ‘understands’, followed by a gang or group.

Amazon.com: Sterling Silver Faux Clip-On Nose Ring 20g - No Piercing Needed : Handmade Products

6d           Fruit in part damaged, one firm to cut (7)
APRICOT – Anagram (damaged) of PART, wrapped round the Roman numeral for one and an abbreviation for a firm or company.

7d           Entering computer data at home before golf practice (9)
INPUTTING – A two-letter word for ‘at home’, followed by what you do on a golf green.

8d           Ideal shape (5)
MODEL – Double definition, the second being a verb.

14d         Two houses sharing same area as public buildings (9)
LIBRARIES – Two astrological ‘houses’, with the abbreviation for Area shared between them, giving us public buildings where works of reference can be consulted.

16d         Fame of criminal sergeant loathes ultimately (9)
GREATNESS – Anagram (criminal) of SERGEANT, followed by the final letter (ultimately) of loatheS.

17d         Short comedian upset person honoured with distinction (8)
LAUREATE – One of an old pair of comedians, minus his last letter (short), followed by an informal verb for ‘upset’ or ‘worried’.

19d         Earthenware pots initially rejected for garden feature (7)
ROCKERY – remove the initial letter from a generic term for earthenware items in the home.

21d         Hearing occasionally news about huge blaze (7)
INFERNO – Wrap an informal word for ‘news’ or ‘data’ around alternate letters (occasionally) of hEaRiNg.

22d         Good musical instrument to take up for free (6)
GRATIS – An abbreviation for Good, followed by the reverse (to take up)of an Indian musical instrument.

23d         Crowd is passionate supporting Wales at last (5)
SWARM – The final letter (at last) of WaleS followed by another word for ‘passionate’ or ‘heated’.

25d         Demand legislation relating to divorcees? (5)
EXACT – Split the answer (2,3) and it could be read as a piece of Parliamentary legislation relating to former partners.

The Quick Crossword pun QUEUE + TICKLE = CUTICLE

63 comments on “DT 29974

  1. 5*/5*. :phew: Although this was really challenging, I thought it was very stimulating and supremely enjoyable. I think I am on safe ground this week to attribute this one to Silvanus at the tougher end of his spectrum.

    I found myself staring at a grid with only two answers entered after starting with the NW and then NE corners. Fortunately, the bottom half yielded with persistence, and I returned to the top half with renewed vigour after which everything fell slowly but steadily into place.

    Trying to pick a favourite was also an enjoyable struggle, and 14d edged ahead of the rest of the field with special mentions for 4a, 13a, 28a & 8d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus (?) and to DT.

  2. Three cracking back pagers on the bounce, peach of a puzzle, not particularly difficult but quality throughout
    Clean and smooth surface reads laced with humour, what’s not to like.
    My only slight hold up was the parsing of 21d, otherwise a swift solve
    In a strong field my highlights are 4&13a plus 4,5&23d with joint top spot going to the clever 1a and the lol 28a
    Many thanks to the setter (has to be Silvanus) and DT.

    1. In the last couple of days, as I look at the hints, the answer appears without me clicking it. Has anyone had the same experience and does anyone know how to correct this?

      1. I haven’t experienced it myself but a couple of other commenters mentioned it the other day

  3. Rarely submit reviews these days, but really enjoyed this crossword. Favourites – 1a, 13a, 28a and my particular favourite 14d

  4. I found this week tough and this one too at ***/****. The lurker in 11a was great and the anagrams in 12a and 4d well concealed but like others I thought king of the castle was 14d. I feel like a lie down now but it was very enjoyable and thanks to DT and our illustrious setter.

  5. Trickiest backpager of the week for me and maybe the best too. Took me well into *** time to finish, but I did, unaided and quite happily, with 1a, 4a, 14d, 17d, & 28a winning top honours. Thanks to DT and today’s setter. 3.5* / 4.5*

  6. A real old fashioned’ Friday Puzzle’. difficult cluing and quite a bit of head scratching.
    Favourite was 14d-initially looking for two royal houses until the penny dropped.So many brilliant surfaces.
    Last in was 1a ,took a while to parse until the dog barked!
    Thanks to our setter for the best crossword for ages and DT for the pics.
    Going for a****/*****

  7. Very enjoyable while it lasted – fortunately I found myself on the setter’s wavelength from the off. Nice to see a grid with 32 clues in it, felt like we were getting our money’s worth! Smooth surfaces, good variety of clue types, only 6 anagrams – what’s not to like? Well, if I’m being picky I thought 17d was rather dated and 15a a bit loose/open, but on the other hand, 14d was excellent (my COTD) with Hon Mentions to 13a and 25d.

    2* / 2.5*

    Many thanks indeed to the Setter and to DT

  8. I found this one quite challenging but in a positive way as there were enough relatively straightforward answers to give plenty of checking letters. I agree with NAS – 14d is delicious.

    We all seem to have the flu here. Happily, all testing negative for Covid, but most aggravating. Back to the sofa now for some uplifting moaning and groaning.

    Thanks to the setter and Threat Of The Deep.

  9. Top stuff, appropriately tricky for a Friday, with great surfaces (Silvanus?) Favourites 1a, 10a & 14d (so good, surely a chestnut I thought, but new to me!) Thanks to setter and DT.

  10. Wonderful puzzle. Not a duff clue in sight. Thanks to Silvanus. Thanks to Deep Threat

  11. Brilliant puzzle, deeply mined the grey matter.
    Just nudging 2* time but then got stuck on last in, 14d.
    Aware of its rationale but accidentally glimpsed the above clip.
    Many thanks to the setter and DT.

  12. Loved this, just the right amount of head scratching.

    Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  13. Another gem from our master of smooth surfaces and what a delight it was to solve.
    Tying for top spot here were the LOL at 28a and the clever 14d with 9a plus 8&22d joining them on the podium.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and to DT for the review.

  14. An almost perfect Friday puzzle from Silvanus. If memory serves, which it probably doesn’t, 11a is one of his favourite cities but I almost deducted 0.5* for enjoyment for the inclusion of the ‘Centre of the Universe’ as it is mistakenly considered by those who live and work there. And, it is not even the ‘Centre of Canada’ that is around 30km SE of downtown Winnipeg. ***/*****

    Candidates for favourite – 4a, 10a, 28a, and 14d – and the winner is 28a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT.

  15. Tough but enjoyable. Favourite clue is 14d but so many others could have taken the podium. As a kid, I used to love 28a, which we bought at the market from a stall called the Pea Bung. Strange to relate, I can’t stand them now.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to DT for the much needed hints.

  16. I’m going to be boring and nominate 14d as my COTD too. I don’t know how anyone is getting on with the Toughie by Notabilis but the first read through hasn’t thrown up anything….and I thought Elgar was challenging!

    1. I’m not getting on too well with The Toughie today either. I’ll keep returning to it though. Never say die

      1. I seem to have maxed out at 10 solutions and that’s with using all 5 letters via the electronic elf.

        1. Can’t see how many answers I’ve got (because I’m enjoying a pint) but having no letter reveals I’ve used all five of my brain cells

          1. Just over half-way and taking a break from it for a few hours, in the hope of gin-induced enlightenment this evening! IMV it’s certainly an Elgar-equivalent in terms of difficulty.

  17. I thought this was jolly tough to begin with, very few jumped to mind on the first pass. But I gradually got into the swing, tearing my brain away from the WI AGM minutes, and it was great. In nominating 14d but I thought 11a a well placed lurker even if it is not the centre of Canada! At 15a I was searching for a Henley connection and 17d needed a prompt from DT for which many thanks. Thanks also to the setter, everyone seems to think must be Sylvanus. It is bloomin’ cold here in Cambridge – I doubt if my Lily of the Valley will bloom for me on 1st May.

    1. I’ll bet a pound to a pinch of snuff that it is Silvanus and he will be along soon to take ownership

  18. A cracking Friday puzzle! Good, concise clues providing a toughish challenge and much enjoyment. Fav: 4a. 4*/4,5*.

  19. Many thanks as always to everyone for their contributions and to DT for his Hints and Tips, the Laurel and Hardy clip never fails to make me smile.

    To answer Senf’s query, I may have used 11a as a solution before but that’s more because it offers quite a few different possibilities of clueing it rather than me having any special attraction to it! I suspect it won’t appear again from me for a while though.

    I’m afraid that I can’t help with the identity of the setter of Wednesday’s puzzle, except to confirm that it wasn’t me!

    Have a good weekend, everyone.

    1. And thank you from me. I find your style slightly out there which is good at keeping my little grey cells exercising.

  20. Phew, after yesterday’s unproductive struggle what a relief to have such a delightfully friendly challenge with so many smooth surfaces. SW demanded the most application. I see I am in company with a host of bloggers in finding 14d definitely Fav and 13a running up. Thank you Silvanus and DT.

  21. Most of my answers were bung ins, I then had to resort to the hints to get the parsing. Can’t say I’m a fan of this type of clueing but that’s because I’m not on his wavelength, or a bit dim🤔. Thanks to all.

  22. A lot of head scratching going on here too but I got there and parsed everything. Favourite was 21d because of the time it took to parse, hand on forehead when the penny dropped. Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  23. After the first run through I had filled in only about 5 but slowly slowly catchee monkey, it started to fall into place and I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Like others thought 14d a belter of a clue. Thanks to Silvanus for popping in and to DT for explaining my bung-ins. Like DG above, East Anglia damn chilly and my runner beans are ready to go out – no rain for weeks.

  24. A terrific puzzle full of excellent clues, foremost among which was the marvellous 14d which deserves to be CL’s COTW in my humble opinion. Great stuff.

    Thanks to Silvanus for yet another top crossword, and to DT.

  25. Spent ages on 11a trying to make some obscure Italian city out of actor on before the penny dropped.
    14d was brilliant as others have said.
    Tricky week but if you can’t learn to be kind, learn to be quiet, so no comments on Wednesday’s crossword.
    Thanks to Silvanius and DT

  26. A pleasant way to end the non-work week with this Silvanus puzzle. 2.5*/4*
    Favourites today include 1a, 28a, 4d, 5d & 22d with winner 22d … my last in.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT for hints

  27. A most entertaining Friday puzzle and for me 14d & 18a were top clues. Thanks to all.

  28. I found 11a thought provoking. In my youth I lived there for 3years . I’ve since been appalled by the animosity of those I’ve met on holiday abroad who live elsewhere in the country. Montreal I’d expect but Winnipeg?? Suffice it to say that, I found the climate inhospitable .

  29. Solved earlier this morning before a day out at Centurion Golf Club – suffice to say I fully expect Phil Mickelson will play it a darn sight better than I managed to when he takes shedload of Saudi dosh on offer there shortly. As for the puzzle I pegged it as a Silvanus production & had it in a photo finish with Wednesday’s one as best of the week. Found the east much easier than the west & managed to complete in just over 2.5* time. Clear favourite 28a (can’t stand ‘em) but with numerous big ticks elsewhere – 4,13&27a plus 1,14&17d other standouts. As Miff says not a duffer to be found.
    Thanks to Silvanus & to DT.
    Wordle in 3

  30. Lovely day in York For a lovely puzzle. 14d nice but I could have chosen many. Thanks to DT and Silvanus.

  31. Great Friday offering that really stretched me. A really satisfying and enjoyable start to the day.
    14d brilliant but favourite is 28a for the reminder of my childhood.
    Also was at a golf seminar in St Andrews a few years ago & took a Spanish colleague to the Anstruther Fish Bar & introduced him to battered cod chips & 28a. The next night I returned to find he’d taken the whole Spanish delegation there for fish chips & 28a!
    Thank you Silvanus and DT for the review especially the Laurel & Hardy.

  32. Failed to solve a single clue. I am getting truly fed up with the DT and their idea of back pager crossword puzzles. If I wanted to audition for MI5 I will let them know. This weeks puzzles have been a nadir in the history of the the DT.
    A shameful and awful week.
    No thanks from me for either the setter or the DT puzzle editor.
    Won’t even bother trying t9 rate this dreadful thing.

  33. Sadly, this is the third day in a row when only the smarter solvers have been catered to, despite there being a Toughie on offer every day if they sail through the Cryptic with ease. Nothing for the rest of us. Yes I could finish, if I worked my way through the hints (thanks for those DT), but a enjoyable puzzle is one solved with little or no help. Seems that the DT is intent in driving away many who subscribe solely for the pleasure of solving the Cryptic. I’m glad that many found these straight forward and fun, but there are a lot like me (and they probably never post) who will be put off by the last 3 days. Certainly discouraging for anyone just starting out.

    1. I cannot agree less. The majority of the more difficult back page crossword puzzles bear no semblance of a Toughie whatsoever. I completed today’s back pager over lunch, but without hints I could not have understood a single clue in today’s Notabilis Toughie and I gave up after reading a few clues. For me most Elgar puzzles are just as difficult, as are some Toughies set by many others. This is NOT a complaint, I know my limitations and am happy to win a few and accept a few score draws. This week’s back pagers have been challenging at times, but they most certainly were NOT Toughies in disguise. If you cannot complete a puzzle then just accept that it isn’t your cup of tea. We are all different and we all have different mental capabilities. There are far more important things in the world today to get wound up about than a bloody crossword puzzle. For instance, consider those poor b???rs in the Ukraine who’d love some peace and quiet in which to solve a crossword puzzle, cryptic, Toughie or otherwise. We too could soon be doing battle with Russia before the year is out – give that one some thought! Please get your priorities right and please also stop throwing your teddies out the pram when a puzzle isn’t to your liking. Sorry, rant over.

  34. Fifth dnf in a row for me. Can’t say I’ve enjoyed this week at all. At least I managed to solve three quarters today.

    I thought the whole purpose of the toughie was for people who found the back pager easy. If the back pager becomes as difficult as the toughie going forward, myself and many others will look elsewhere. It’s not like even being a subscriber to the the DT is cheap.

    1. Not that dear. Depends upon the subscription type. Mine is a digital only subscription. No hard copy and no extra subscriptions for family and friends 55 rats per annum. A quid a week and a few pennies

  35. Phew, finished. On & off all day because of job list, I thought this was a beauty. 4a and boringly 14d my CODs. Thanks Sylvania & DT.

  36. Goodness me what a bag of mixed reactions. For me, I am not in ‘the intellegencia’ category as Merusa sometimes says! I thoroughly enjoy every crossword, the hints and the comments, also the reviews. I very rarely complete a cryptic on my own and count myself lucky to complete the quick crossword unaided and I always have a go at each day’s toughie. Doing the crosswords and the code words in the early hours I don’t often comment on the relevant day but I so enjoy them all, so a huge thank you to Silvanus and DT and all the other setters and hinters.
    Hi RC, I’ve got two more books to go before I buy the latest Slough House and totally loving each book.

    1. Good morning, Granny Helen! The newest one, #8, is pre-ordered and ‘Bad Actors’ will be coming my way on 15 May. So glad to hear that you’re still ‘totally loving each book’! Always good to hear from you.

  37. Sorry Silvanus, this one had gone straight in to the recycling box….far too hard for this bear of little brain!

Comments are closed.